Indian Child Welfare Act Faces Another Constitutional Challenge in Minnesota

A case now before the Minnesota Court of Appeals revives debate over the nation’s 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act and a local version of the law — alleging that the legal statutes protecting Indigenous children, families and tribes racially discriminate against white foster parents. Read the full article at The Imprint.

Minnesota moves to protect Native children as Supreme Court decision looms

Uncertainty about the future of ICWA brought urgency to legislative efforts this year to strengthen the Minnesota Indian Family Preservation Act or MIFPA. Lawmakers in both houses passed the legislation and Governor Walz is expected to sign it. “MIFPA legislation creates basically the gold standard of protection for our native kids,” said State Senator Mary … Read more

Who Should Get to Adopt Native American Children?

Another way that ICWA differs from conventional child welfare laws is that it mandates “active efforts” to keep children with their families or tribe. In most regular child protection cases, social-service workers are obligated to provide “reasonable efforts” to help parents and children reunify, such as offering lists of treatment facilities, therapists, affordable-housing agencies or … Read more

American Indian Adoptees Deal with Painful Past and Family Separations

Despite these challenges, Native American adoptees continue to lead a resilient fight both inside and outside the child welfare system to address disparities, often by providing support systems and advocates beyond what county or state governments offer families. And Native-led organizations hold the government accountable, ensuring that agencies and courts properly uphold ICWA and honor … Read more

Glendive Woman Sues Over Child Custody Dispute That Put Tribal, Minnesota Courts at Odds

A Glendive woman is suing the Bureau of Indian Affairs for $1 million over a 2015 child custody dispute that pitted state and tribal courts against each other. Patsy Fercho, 64, fled to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in 2015 with her two grandchildren in an attempt to avoid a Minnesota court’s order granting custody to … Read more

Indian Child Welfare Court in Duluth Aims for Better Outcomes for Native American Families

Two years ago, Tarnowski attended a training in Duluth given by the National Child Welfare Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues. Stories of historical trauma that have helped lead to that disparity, and also what led to the creation of the Indian Child Welfare Act, were shared, Tarnowski said, creating “a little fire in … Read more

State Pledges $400,000 to Reduce Number of Indian Children in Foster Care (MN)

With the number of American Indian children in Minnesota foster care reaching “unacceptable” levels, the state pledged Thursday to spend $400,000 over the next three years to reduce those numbers. The announcement comes after a Star Tribune report found that Minnesota has more Indian children in foster care than any other state, including those with … Read more

UMD Leads American Indian Child Welfare Act Project (MN)

UMD’s Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies, which is part of the Department of Social Work, will serve as the grant’s lead organization and will work with six other organizations including courts, child welfare agencies, and tribes, to determine the most successful methods to help children and families. Read the full announcement at … Read more

Crisis of Native American children spurs summit (Minnesota)

State, county, and tribal leaders from Minnesota gathered at Fortune Bay Resort Casino on Thursday [Sept. 25] to talk about what they are calling a crisis of Indian children.   Native Americans account for one percent of Minnesota’s population. However, Native American children are four times more likely to live in poverty than the state’s … Read more

Federal Officials Say Native American School in Minnesota Needs Help

Federal officials got a firsthand look at one deteriorating Native American school in Minnesota Tuesday–they said it’s one of many suffering similarly throughout the country. After touring Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School in Bena, Minnesota, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell said it’s just one example of how the country is letting down it’s Native American students. Read the full article and … Read more

White Earth Nation Caseloads Grow as Tribe Takes Over Human Services Cases

White Earth tribal officials are preparing to begin the final phase of transferring human services cases from surrounding counties to the White Earth Nation. The movement began three years ago when a state law authorized White Earth to take control of all human services programs for its members and their families. See the full article … Read more

Representing Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence from Tribal Communities (MN)

The American Bar Association Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Office on Violence Against Women, is pleased to present a two-day training, The Fundamentals of Representation of Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence from Tribal Communities, on May 15-16, 2014 in Minneapolis, MN. This interactive, … Read more

Minnesota Report Focuses on Programs that Work for Indian Students

At 45.5 percent, Minnesota has the lowest on-time high-school graduation rate for its Native American students of any state in the country. Though acknowledging that hard truth, a new report by the Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now (MinnCAN) reflects hope. Read more at the Twin Cities Daily Planet website. Related stories: All Nations program at … Read more

Immaculate Conception Parish Raises Funds to Help Children of Ojibwe Tribe in Minnesota

One of Father Jerry’s immediate dreams was to establish a mobile computer lab where students can improve their reading and math skills, prepare and take standardized tests and learn about the world beyond the reservation. During his visit to Immaculate Conception Parish, he was presented with a check for more than $15,000 in donations. This … Read more

Forms: Indian Child Welfare Act (MN Dept of Human Services)

The North Dakota Department of Human Services offers a variety of forms for social work professionals, tribal workers, attorneys, and others dealing with adoptions or placements involving American Indian children.  You can find the following forms (with descriptions) on their website at : Summary of ICWA Jurisdictional Provisions Notice Pursuant to ICWA Request for … Read more

March 18-19, 2013: NICWA Training Series (MN)

Organized by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, this is a professional development workshop series designed specifically for American Indian child welfare workers in reservation, urban, and rural settings.  It will be held in Minneapolis, MN on March 18-19, 2013.  Learn more and register at This session will include the following three units: Positive … Read more

A Practical Guide to the Indian Child Welfare Act

The Guide is intended to answer questions and provide a comprehensive resource of information on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The online version at was created as a complement to the print version of the Guide, which was printed by the Native American Rights Fund in 2007. While the topical sections are identical … Read more